Thursday, October 28, 2010

Houseplant killer on the loose

I have a tendency to kill my houseplants.

I used to have a Shrimp plant :
Now it is dead.

And then, I recently brought in my rosemary in from the garden to overwinter,

and my sister in-law gave me a very cool plant called Dorotheanthus Bellidiformus Mezoo "Trailing Red" 
which gets these tiny fuzzy bright scarlet flowers.

And a dear friend gave me another plant with cool foliage that will overwinter but I got lazy and didn't
plant it soon enough in the garden. BTW, I have no idea what this is called so if you recognize this plant tell me its name.

Needless to say I live in fear of killing these plants during winter. 
Just thought you should know.

Update July 2012: As of who knows exactly when, all the above plants are now dead and buried. Sigh.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Provincial Post - Ontario

As the garden season is coming to an end around here I've been trying to decide how I am going to get through the next little while with this blog. So once a week I will tell you about the flowers and trees that are symbols for each of our provinces and territories. Each Canadian province and territory has a flower, tree, animal, bird and mineral symbol, as well as, a motto. For those of you who don't know, Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories. Yup, it's a big country. I begin with my home province, Ontario.

Ontario - White Trillium and Eastern White Pine.

The White Trillium or Trillium grandiflorum is in the lily order. There are 40-50 species of trilliums but the grandiflorum is found in Eastern North America and Asia. The white trillium is a woodland plant that flowers in spring for a few weeks, usually in June.  The flowers are large with three petals (about 3 inches across) and sit atop a whorl of three leaves (Tri - three - Trillium). As the flowers age they turn a light pink. White trilliums have been found with green streaking, which while attractive, means they are virus-ed. Trillium seeds are spread by ants who like to eat the elaiosome in the seed and then compost the rest. Germination may take place in this ant garbage area as it is full of rich nutrients.
Growing your own trilliums from seed is known to be a lengthy process. The rule of thumb is not to expect flowers for 7 years. Once germinated, the first year is spent putting down roots. The second year you may get the seed leaf and the third year a true leaf. Then you wait for the flower which may take another 5 years or longer.

Photo from UBC Botanical Garden
The Eastern White Pine or Pinus strobus is one of my favorite trees. This is a magnificent evergreen conifer that can live up to 200-250 years and reach heights of 80 feet at maturity (180 feet/50m in the wild) and a diameter of 2-3 feet. Pyramidal in shape when young the white pine is known to develop a ragged windswept look with great age. The Group of Seven are famous for their paintings of the white pine. The needles are bluish green and grow in bundles of five. They are soft to the touch. The cones are long and slender and the scales open up and are reflexed. Cone production peaks every five years. The seeds are wind dispersed.
Once, this tree covered most of eastern North America. Now only 1% of the original trees remain from the intensive logging that took place between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. White pines were used as masts on sailing ships for the British Royal Navy. The marking and seizure of the white pines by the king of England was a point of contention for the (Canadian and American) colonists and their removal played a part in the American Revolution. The white pine is used for lumber and has been prized for lengths of knot free wood. Today it is farmed commercially in areas where it grows naturally.
Growing a white pine in your garden requires a lot of space so you might prefer to find dwarf varieties. They grow well in full sun to part shade and ordinary soil. They can be used for hedging or windbreaks.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Last Blooms of the Year

For the past month I have been slowly and happily discovering new garden blogs through a wonderful sight called Blotanical. I am visiting gardens across Canada and the USA, Japan, Norway, Malaysia, France, Britain and many others. I am fortunate that some of these same bloggers are checking out my site as well. It is a lot of fun for me. That is the up side. The down side is that I am seeing wonderful gardens all over the world, with fascinating new plants I have never before seen. AND while their gardens continue to bloom on mine is coming to an end. 
So I am toasting the finale of my garden blooms today. Feel free to join in.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Fashion Statement

The Pomona Garden and Co. is having a big year, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their business. What better way to move forward than with an almost all-metallic collection?

Persicaria is modeling what can only be described as a refreshingly straightforward gutsiness:

While the Spigelia twins are just dazzling and the fabric is neither prissy nor showy:

Baptisia is making a comeback with a vampy, campy lassitude in the boudoir-ness of it all:

Another duo of femme fatale proportions are the Black chokeberries. Here they are with those elusive touches of femininity; embroidery and lace:

It would hardly be a Pomona Garden outing without it, the fab leopard print modeled here by one of our favorite guys, Epimedium:

 No one does it better than Goatsbeard  -  an undone, sensual quality, in a crinkled metallic twill safari jacket:

To finish: more lace smothered in clear crystals for a sparkling evening look modeled by Aster nova-belgii:.

This show didn't necessarily have the emotional impact of last season, but it certainly showed the designers in top form, keenly aware of their strengths (has there been a season in recent memory in which more editors have worn PG and Co. in the front row?) and making the very most of them. The collection had a sharpness to it, though beautiful, and rather reflective of how much dress codes have loosened up in the decade that Pomona Garden and Co. has been at the forefront. 

(my apologies to Dolce & Gabbana and to fashion writer  Nicole Phelps from whom I unabashedly have stolen)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some minor renovations

Earlier in the summer I realized I had to do some renovating in a flower bed we created 9 years ago. The ninebark now leans towards the sun to the south west and is impeding my peony 'Falcon' from flowering. It is also getting in the way of a switch grass. It is a minor nuisance along a stone path in the bed. But what needed to be divided and moved was the rudbeckia 'Goldsturm' which was growing between the stones. So a couple of days ago I began removing and replanting the rudbeckia. Then I shifted the direction of the path so I could actually walk through. I only thought of taking a few photos at the end of my hard labour.


When the leaves fall from the ninebark I will give it a haircut. This one is 'Dart's Gold', and it is a lovely chartreuse in early spring. It darkens over the summer but does retain some lime-ness in colour. Right underneath it is the peony. Needless to say it is now overwhelmed and did not flower this year. The chartreuse of the ninebark with the burgundy of the peony are a sublime combination, so I would like to keep them near each other. I am trying to figure out where to place it, preferably without having to transplant the Itea 'Henry's Garnet' as well.

See the peony tucked under the ninebark? That's the Itea in front with all that colour. Other peonies on either side, one is mildewed....
Paeonia 'Falcon'

It is also about time to do some fall cleaning before the winter. As you can see the peonies need to be cut down, and with all the rain we have had there are bits of branches down everywhere. I am not one who really cleans, instead I tidy, leaving winter interest where I can. I am also somewhat lazy. Interpret that however you like.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Garden in Ottawa

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers. I had hoped to say that prior to Thanksgiving but I was preparing to visit my in-laws for the holiday this year. I ran out of time. I do hope everyone had an enjoyable time with family and ate some delicious food.

So, we were in Ottawa for the holiday, I took many opportunities to enjoy my sister and brother in-law's garden. Michel and Cathy have worked very hard at creating a lovely garden. During the first few years in this home the garden grew in leaps and bounds. Every visit I was filled with envy for their enthusiasm and energy to accomplish what they have done. Michel is a plantaholic who knows no limits at the garden nursery while Cathy is more practical about choosing the right plant for the right place. Before we left for home Michel confided he will be enlarging one of the berms. Apparently there is never enough room....

I thought you might like to see some photos of their back garden.

View from house to back yard

Back yard with bright orange blueberry bushes, Smokebush, crab apple tree in behind grass

End of berm Michel is planning to enlarge  

Other side of yard

Locust tree and serviceberry
A whimsical touch
Fall asters
Interesting textural combo
Loved the planter
You may have got the impression that there are quite a few trees, and you would be right. I think they planted at least 6 trees. It is just your typical suburban lot size but it seems larger with the amount of plant material in it and because they created pathways (not all of them obvious) to lead you around the yard.
Thank you Cathy and Michel for allowing me to show off your wonderful garden.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A game

Yesterday I was invited by DeniseNoNiwa to play a game along with 9 other garden bloggers. 
The rules of this game are:
  • Inform who invited you
  • List the 10 things you like to do
  • Invite another 10 bloggers
She also says '  I bended the second rule slightly. I hope that is allowed. In stead of listing 10 things I like doing, I will list ten garden-related things I like'

I am not usually one who takes part in chain letters but this one is of interest to me. I get to find out about some bloggers I don't know at all and I will be checking out more blogs I have never visited. How bad can that be?
Here we go:
    10 things I like to do in the garden:

    1. I like to smell my flowers, especially the peonies and sweet autumn clematis

    2. I like to sit on the patio and watch and listen to the birds
    3. I love watching the European beech tree turn gold in fall and in the spring watch the new leaves become that translucent green burgundy.
    4. I like weeding the gravel driveway after a rain.
    5. I like watering the flowers by hand. This way I keep in touch and see how everyone is doing.
    6. I like to sit and read garden magazines or books of fiction.
    7. I like to do sudoku puzzles
    8. I like getting my hands dirty
    9. I love walking the garden with my cat Sushi

    10. I love to touch the white pine tree. It's needles are soft. It is the provincial tree of Ontario. However I can't find the right place in the garden to grow one. One day I hope that will change.

    I am inviting the following 5 bloggers to join in:

    Gardening in a Sandbox

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Fall is here

    Fall is on its way after all. As of last week it still looked pretty green around here but today tells a different story.

    Black Walnut
    Paper Birch    
    There is some colour too as the Itea  'Henry's Garnet' shows.

    The False Solomon's seal has also joined the festivities

    along with the burning bush

    Nope. No denying now. Happy fall everyone.